BSOTS 2.5a (Official BSots Thread)

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Alpha Centauri
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by Alpha Centauri » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:18 am

BlueTemplar wrote:Sounds interesting!

What are your recommended game settings, especially for the star count, so as to see some DN/AM before the game ends?

I generally play SotS1 on 50% economy, 150% research, with 80 stars for 8 players. And with +20% resources in the case of Bsots, because if there's something more annoying than the freighter mini-game, that's the mini game of having to assemble a fleet from multiple planets!


Hey Blue,

I play with the +max size & resources, normal economy, normal science, 80-120 worlds typically, with 6-8 players - if I want a single starting world classic no-extra techs start.

Ships Yards are critical in BSOTS. I've made them +100% ship production speed, but cost 50K to maintain. They're not generally needed in the early game (or only one on your HW). I typically assemble fleets at my HW + in a small cluster of outer worlds, using some best one as the core, and one or two nearby to build 1/4, 1/4, and 1/2 of the fleet and send them to meet somewhere before assault.

I used to crank up the economy & science - but I've been forcing myself to keep them 100/100 so as to play-balance the tech costs and ship maintenance costs and "flow" relatively balanced at default settings (though - I do always keep the resources/size cranked - which I should probably stop doing to better balance the cpoints - but, old habits die hard).

I'm finding that most of my games have minor skirmishes until around turn 100, where you start seriously engaging other Ai players (and it's around here and maybe another 20 turns for fusion to become commonplace). Around 150-180 antimatter is researched for most players.

In my latest game I'm at turn 199, on 120 worlds, playing Humans. I got an amazing start and was at about 30 worlds before that turn 100 threshold (though many were very rudimentary colonies). Now I'm around 45 worlds, and my economy is around 9mil per turn, with a maxed out trade and trade station network with my worlds almost all in the process of growing to hw saturation levels.

So it's AM age now - my battles against my Tarkas rivals are all AM (my ships are a mix of late Fusion and new AM models - the AI I think is all AM + middle tier engine).

I'm wicked happy with some of the weapons balances - fights (at least initial ones where we both have 15-22 size [L] fleets) are quite even in most ways (Human's big advantage is smarter control of ships - using asteroid shadows, focusing fire, etc.) But the Ai's have been doing a solid job with the research techs, fleets, expansions, etc. - and this is with normal Ais. :D

I've found that the Ais definitely do research Advanced CNC without problems. They do not use the mismatched CNCs - they stick with the SOTS classic DE = basic CNC, CR = improved CNC, and DN = advanced CNC. But none of that causes the Ai's any problems (in my last several games). Even the Ai in last place - a Hiver this time - has Antimatter and advanced CNC in this game (which means that they managed to research one of the bonus CNC techs to get there). I expect as they move to more dreads [H] they'll research through the second bonus CNC to get Flagships as well :D (but I've not seen it yet).

1/2 my problem is I see too many cool ideas as I go - and I fix / build them as I go - and often destroy the game files before getting past around this point (and - with all of these turn based games the micro management often becomes too damn tedious and ruins the fun factor, so between those things - I abandon the game for even more ambitious ideas that can't remain compatible).

I've majorly toned down the early to middle tech costs compared to my earlier versions. AM is still quite expensive - e.g. my 9mil / turn Humans are looking at 8 turns for several of the end-game techs, should they go for it (without Ai techs, mind you - and I've not bothered to build any Science stations - which I've put those back to +5% bonus each - so that would make a significant difference).

I can also verify that the Ai seems to happily use the new techs. They build orbital stations regularly - their choices aren't necessarily clear as to why they chose what they did - but they're not terrible choices, and I'm very happy to see that my overhaul of the flow of when you get construction ships and etc. and overall massive overhauls to the tech tree don't break the Ai algorithms! (Kudos to Kerberos and whomever did all of that programming!!!)

Overall I'm ecstatic that everything seems to be working. I've found and fixed a pile of bugs that I didn't bother to log - just whatever was off as I encountered it playing.

Anyway - yeah, I think if I were choosing an 80 world map I'd do 6 players to give a little more room to expansion before conflict, to give each player a more solid place to build up economy - especially trade - (again, which the Ai's definitely do). The Ai's don't spam trade stations though - which is unfortunate since that's a key to a better economy - but they're not total slouches either. :D )

---

I also include a "fusion age" start tech tree now - and when I play with that I like to start all players with say 4 worlds to begin. It helps to level out the initial expansion and randomness on the map - giving everyone a solid core world group. You'll have to try that to see whether that's to your taste? Obviously the expansion phase is foreshortened, and everyone is moving at fusion speeds from the get go. AM is much sooner - and generally the late game goodies are more likely to be part of your game.

I'll publish this sucker soon. It's a solid step up from 2.1 IMO. Lots of little stuff - touches - you'll maybe enjoy as you play.

Much left to do before I finish my grand vision - with having dreads [H] revamped to have sensible firing arcs. But that's a shit-ton of work - and they'll already benefit from the above to a real degree - so hopefully this will tide folks over :)

The next stage hopefully will see serious love for the [H] class ships, and maybe for drones / fighters (using Balti's extensive ship yards, and borrowing from ACM's gunships, hopefully giving everyone heavy carrier class [H] ships like the Tarkas), and an enhanced tech tree that fixes some of the annoyances I've found with my current design - plus real techs for much of the weapons I've added here in 2.5 (which are now "free" with the 2 barrel varieties).

Constructive feedback is always welcome. :)

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BlueTemplar
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by BlueTemplar » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:15 am

Sounds great! Especially the Fusion start one! Ever since the Antiquarians scenario was published, I was hoping that this could be replicated in the main game itself! (You can kind of luck it out with 15 techs, where it seems to give it to *every* player but it might take quite a few retries to get it...)

Yeah, I should have mentioned that I found it great that you needed ShipYards to be able to do some serious shipbuilding!

Gunships are a lot of fun, but I suspect that considering their speed and strength in ACM and Twilight, they're completely overpowered in multiplayer? Though I guess that with the state of SotS1 multiplayer, it's better to have something really fun for SP, that can be agreed not to be used by the players in MP...

Alpha Centauri
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by Alpha Centauri » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:38 pm

During my current play-testing - I'm finding myself agreeing with folks who want [L]'s to only have access to more limited armors than [H]'s. Mainly because dread's just cannot sport shields :(!!!

Dread's are just a goddamn PIA to make work well. They really should have an inherent bonus to ROF in Sots to make them really respectable. As it is, I've got them at 1:6 ratio of health to cruisers - and the cruisers still seriously kick ass (because of the massive number of weapons that they can bring to the fight).

When I overhaul DNs to sport more projector mounts on all models - so that essentially large mounts -> projector, some medium -> large, maybe some small -> medium - even then they're going to suck by comparison to an all cruiser fleet.

Unless I make the heaviest guns - project mounted guns - just much better than they currently are...

Or, I do that AND only allow dreads to sport the heaviest armors AND maybe make those armors even better...

It's going to take some doing.

But dreads - just can't bring the number of guns that cruisers do.

I could also consider reducing their CPs so that they're maybe 1:2 cruisers instead of 1:3 as they are now. Or maybe 1:2.5.

Whatever combination of things I do - they need to be seriously improved for them to be a better choice than CRs.

Other thoughts include inverting the speed hierarchy - in RL the biggest naval ships move the fastest (which is a property of water vessels and doesn't logically apply to space - but ha ha - realism!)
If I made DNs the fastest at superluminal speeds - and made CRs middling, and DEs the worst - then that would give a strategic advantage to dreads that CRs simply couldn't replicate.

I don't really want to do this for in-system speeds - having your DEs behave sluggishly while your DNs pop around the battlefield seems crazy... though... interesting.

Making up some bull about engine to mass ratio maybe it can suspend disbelief and give DNs more going for them.

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BlueTemplar
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by BlueTemplar » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:37 pm

Raise their health points s'more? As I see it DN's logically have the following advantages over CR :
- their larger health means that they should in theory be able to fight sustained battles and survive, and therefore you would win by attrition (as long as they're cheap enough).
- their larger health means they should in theory be able to push trough heavy defenses and kill the planet (or kill it from afar with siege DN's - is the asteroid strong enough to withstand a significant amount of fire?), that planet then takes time to heal, winning by attrition again.

Alpha Centauri
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by Alpha Centauri » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:52 pm

yeah, that's exactly their role - and they have the "all health must be destroyed before they pop" going for them (as well as a massive boost in health - as I said, 6:1 ratio is pretty typical in bsots).

but their arsenal is currently fairly anemic by comparison to a group of CRs - that and the fact that SOTS doesn't have any way to distribute damage sensibly - so it's great for 6 cruisers to focus on one dread - but having that dread focus on one cruiser quickly gets the dread killed (especially since its ability to refocus is often poor, whereas the cruisers can refocus relatively quickly).

So one dread overkilling one cruiser at a time is a losing proposition for the dread (IMX).

You raise a good point about cost as well - I'm not sure that's the least bit balanced in BSOTS. Upkeep is 3:1, but cost & construction times? I'll have to take a look.

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Rossinna-Sama
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:01 am

Aren't you able to set the DNs to Spread Fire, or is that SOTS2 only?
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Alpha Centauri
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by Alpha Centauri » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:09 pm

Rossinna-Sama wrote:Aren't you able to set the DNs to Spread Fire, or is that SOTS2 only?

SOTS2 only.

You can not give your ships a specific target - and they'll act as opportunists - firing whatever guns happen to have targets in their firing arcs. And they'll always use their guns that can't face the named target as opportunity fire. So it's not as bad as all that.

But overall - with as many upgrades as cruisers got over the series lifetime - from sots, to bob, to amoc, to any - cruisers got much more lethal - while dreads didn't change that much. (well, they got more deadly against one another - such as the blazer or railgun variant sections which can do a gye-normous amount of damage to another large single target).

Add to it all of my modding - which give destroyers and cruisers "shields everywhere" - and I make it so you don't lose any firepower in exchange for shields (something I could of course retract - but hell no!)

So, it's a question of - what do I want to give dreads or take away from cruisers?

Giving dreads > 6:1 health ratio is of course trivial. but my feeling is it needs to be something better than that. Probably a combination of things - including giving them more projector mounts (which BSOTS has lots of new triple barrel weapons for those) - plus maybe making those a bit stronger than they currently are, giving dreads the true King/Queen of the battlefield status they should have
Last edited by Alpha Centauri on Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Rossinna-Sama
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by Rossinna-Sama » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:48 pm

Have you considered a more indirect buff such as making their tech cheaper or faster to unlock?
If Shields are also being an issue in the CR vs DN combat, then you could make some DN-sized weapons which'd defeat shields. If SOTS1 has that, I think it had at least a ballistic shield breaker. Or maybe a Heavy Combat Laser (or whatever they are called here) type which gets bonuses against shields?
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Alpha Centauri
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by Alpha Centauri » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:47 pm

Rossinna-Sama wrote:Have you considered a more indirect buff such as making their tech cheaper or faster to unlock?
If Shields are also being an issue in the CR vs DN combat, then you could make some DN-sized weapons which'd defeat shields. If SOTS1 has that, I think it had at least a ballistic shield breaker. Or maybe a Heavy Combat Laser (or whatever they are called here) type which gets bonuses against shields?

There is a ballistic shield-breaker gun - which consumes a large slot.

It's available for any large mount - but that's a non-trivial exchange - a large weapon for a shield killer. It makes sense if you're going up against strong shielded ships - but in BSOTS there are two varieties of shields -

Heavy vs. Light.

Heavy can be devastated by a shield breaker round.
But Light - they just respawn in a few seconds - so of very minimal impact.

If I could make the shield-breaker rounds also suppress regeneration of the shields for time-period - more like an EMP weapon... (maybe I can add an EMP effect? not sure about this).

I added a shield-burster weapon - where the munitions all are shield bursters - so blasting one of those in a cluster of cruisers would in theory take all of their shields down at once (TBH I'm not sure I've ever tested that weapon - it may not work at all! d'oh!)

Having a lighter weapon - which was a relatively quick-firing anti-shield solution might be "da bomb!" when it comes to dreads. Ideally, this would be a dread-only tech. Sadly - I don't think I can do that because there aren't any extra mount-types lying about. SOTS1 had all of its mount types hardcoded - and they're all consumed. I gave up node missiles to steal that mount type for my mini-torp weapons (on heavy drones). I'd have to give up another mount type to allow this only for dreads (or make it a projector mount - which would allow it for cruisers but only for projector cruisers - so not a problem).

But again - giving up an entire huge mount (projector) for that? Maybe...

I could just make a medium mount anti-shield weapon which is unlocked once you get dreads - with flavor text about it being a direct response to shielded cruisers. ... that has some promise ...

Thanks for the thoughts...

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BlueTemplar
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by BlueTemplar » Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:05 pm

Alpha Centauri wrote:You can not give your ships a specific target - and they'll act as opportunists - firing whatever guns happen to have targets in their firing arcs. And they'll always use their guns that can't face the named target as opportunity fire. So it's not as bad as all that.

You can set a group of weapons to only fire on the target you gave them - but it's very micro-heavy.
Also, besides the Morrigi DN, a DN can only really focus on a CR if that one lets it face it. (Left turrets not being able on the right side and vice-versa.)

Don't EMP/disruptor weapons have any effect against shield recharge?

In bSotS, you don't need a shield section to have shields, that's right? Sure, that's an issue with regards to DN balance... unless there's a way to make them and only them tougher without sacrificing in firepower, then I guess the only way is to make them tougher from the start.

A projector mount shield-breaking weapon sounds great!
Even better if it's slowly tracking enough that it has trouble tracking DE's (but devastates CR shields)!

P.S.: A medium-mount anti-shield weapon... isn't that pretty much Stormers?

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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by Alpha Centauri » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:30 pm

Yeah - the setting up individual weapon banks is just way too micro for me. It's there if you care... but outside of my concerns.

I imagine that EMP resets shield recharge timers?! I would HOPE SO! Which is why I was considering adding an Emp aspect to shield breakers - but I'm not sure if the files will accommodate that? (of course, a player can always counter shield heavy enemies by combining those two weapons themselves).

Yeah - BSOTS allows shields on most CR and DE ships (DE mission, CR bridge), with a few exceptions.

Projector anti-shield with EMP aspect would indeed be ideal - with tracking appropriate to CRs but poor against DEs - that sounds like a good weapon to try for! :)

And of course - any high-damage output weapon is inherently anti-shield :)

I guess I should find out - do pulsars or other EMP's ignore shields? I am fairly certain that EMP bolts are blocked by shields. But what about AOE EMP's? Probably still blocked.

Nanites & Corrosives are of course shield-ignoring.

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SpardaSon21
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by SpardaSon21 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:50 pm

I'm in favor of the more projector mounts for DN's. Something dirty you could do would be to just go into the files and replace all of the larges with heavies, remove projector sections, and then split the mediums between larges and smalls, or just convert all mediums to larges. If I'm remembering correctly, that would require projector weapons to get changed from close-range brawling weapons to essentially long-range super-heavy mounts with very poor tracking, but isn't that something you were shooting for anyways?

EDIT: Could then rename CR Projector sections to Monitor sections, move CR shields to missions, and don't let Monitor sections take shields. That way if you want DN firepower out of cruisers, you lose your shields.

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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by Alpha Centauri » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:20 pm

SpardaSon21 wrote:I'm in favor of the more projector mounts for DN's. Something dirty you could do would be to just go into the files and replace all of the larges with heavies, remove projector sections, and then split the mediums between larges and smalls, or just convert all mediums to larges. If I'm remembering correctly, that would require projector weapons to get changed from close-range brawling weapons to essentially long-range super-heavy mounts with very poor tracking, but isn't that something you were shooting for anyways?

EDIT: Could then rename CR Projector sections to Monitor sections, move CR shields to missions, and don't let Monitor sections take shields. That way if you want DN firepower out of cruisers, you lose your shields.

Good ideas.

In 2.5 I have added about a dozen "projector" mounted non-close range weapons (3x barrel standard beams, 3x barrel plasma/fusion/am cannons, 3x barrel heavy ballistics, super heavy stormers, projector mounted dual rapid fire huge missile launchers, etc.)

So "projector" mounts are referred to as "huge" - so we have small/medium/large/huge. And then specialized types - such as mine layer, torpedo, fixed heavy beams, etc.

One single huge mount on cruisers isn't a big deal... but... I could see simply removing that entirely... just because they're my absolute least favorite section in all of cruisers. Then dreads exclusively get the huge weapons, which is kind of cool.

I would probably keep the classic "projector" weapons - you can arm your DN's huge mounts with a mix of short-range and long-range huge guns.

mmmm.... I like your suggestion of just being brutal about changing the mounts. Rather than painstakingly sitting down to decide on each model - just use some simple algorithm to make my life easy - and then refine it later.

yes... I think that sounds like just the ticket...

Alpha Centauri
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by Alpha Centauri » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:23 pm

BTW - does anyone know if it's possible to have tiny mounts?

I know that no model ever describes a mount as "tiny" - only PD weapons have themselves named as tiny.

But for dreads - I would love to force the issue - just force there to be some PD only mounts- and simply converting some small -> tiny - would in theory work (but I suspect strongly that mars.exe doesn't handle a shipsection weapon bank with "tiny" sized mounts).

Anyone know for certain?

----
EDIT: another way to slice this would be to repurpose PD's to be "missile" turretclass - which BSOTS doesn't use missile turrets at all (except for weapons files - for actual missiles - because it doesn't matter). But .... if my PD weapons all said "tiny missile" the they'd fit in standard small (or missile small) - and then I could have DNs only specifically use small missile mounts - hence requiring PD while keeping PD available on standard smalls....

Alpha Centauri
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Re: BSOTS 2.5

Post by Alpha Centauri » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:55 pm

I'm play-testing it for now with:
All Large->Projector
All Medium->Large
All Small->Medium

It means that DNs have a !@@$# of firepower.

It also means that DNs have a serious issues with no PD - so you'd have to escort them with cruisers or destroyers - possibly even PD cruisers / destroyers (called, appropriately enough in BSOTS, "Escorts").

I'll have to see how the AI deals - but this means I don't have to spend time I really don't have twiddling each bank of weapons, one at a time.

And DNs - well, they're instantly restored to kings of the battlefield this way. :)

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